Life at the end of the road

August 23, 2019

The ‘Best Man’

Well, ‘that’s it’, almost the whole summer is by with and I’ve not written a word, truth is, much has changed and I’ve not really felt like it. Sure there’s been many a time I’ve felt like writing something, if for no other reason than to keep a record of it. This blog was after all a replacement for the diaries I kept for years. I last posted some 107 years after the RMS Titanic left Queenstown (now Cobh) in the Republic of Ireland and like the Titanic I hit an iceberg shortly after Smile Well, metaphorically at least Smile Unlike the White Star Line’s iconic vessel I’ve proceeded on my journey relatively unscathed, albeit maintaining ‘radio silence’ Smile

William Macleod

To be honest, had it not been for Willie Eyre I probably wouldn’t be writing even now, in fact had it not been for Willie I probably wouldn’t be where I am now and doing much of what I do. To say Willie was a huge influence on my family and I is something of an understatement.

I’m sure Willie made an impact on all the people he met with his gentle manner and unique outlook. Well Willie passed away around 18:00 on Tuesday evening after a long battle with dementia. Something that was particularly cruel for those that loved and knew him, as Willie’s mind used to be as sharp as a razor. Willie took in all that went on around him and missed nothing. He had a theory for everything, could tell you which birch tree on Raasay would be the first to turn green then offer the explanation of why. He could find scallops and drop me in on the best of marks despite not being able to swim let alone dive. Not only would he tell me exactly which way to swim he’d tell me exactly what the tide was doing on the bottom and be waiting for me wherever I ‘popped up’. Well apart from when he was changing Ross’ nappies that is Smile Willie not only looked after me, he looked after my son who also accompanied us daily on our fishing trips.

 DSCN0431shucking clams

Willie was the Best Man at my wedding and the ‘best man’ I have ever known, he is sorely missed by all that knew him. My thoughts and love to all that knew him especially Tekela and Duncan.

On Death
Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Willie read Gibran’s works, or at least The Prophet and could pretty much quote the poem below, which he said was one of his favourite. Funny that cos I never had Willie down as a reader of poetry but that was the thing with Willie, he knew about everything.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Aye, there was a lot going on inside Willie’s head Smile 


The summer of 2019 in pictures 

When I left you I was just in the middle of a spell at Lochaline covering for MV Lochinvar that was having an unexpectedly long dry docking, problems with the rescue boat davit having delayed her departure from the Garvel Clyde dry dock in Greenock. After that me son came home from Uni, we did lots of diving, concreting and cooking Smile Boy, that son of mine is some mean cook.

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Taken in April from my ‘pitch’ down at Lochaline by the West Pier. Jifmar’s wee workboat MV Paul B, a regular visitor to the many fish farms in the Sound of Mull, hardly an attractive boat hey Smile The MV Isle of Lewis heading out to Barra from Oban at sunrise and sunset.


The old Ardtornish castle with it’s strategic outlook over most of the Sound of Mull guarding the entrance to Loch Aline.

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MV CEG Cosmos loading timber at my campsite, a Latvian registered coaster she hides her age well, built in 1983 she looks very well kempt, even close up.

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One of the many small coasters from the continent calling at the Loch Aline sand mine for quality silica sand.

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Molly the ‘wee dug’ exploring, Sound Diver loading hobby divers and OB26 MFV Creachan unloading dived scallops.

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MV Yeoman Bridge heading for Glensanda quarry, one of the worlds largest self discharging bulk carriers.


Big crane working at Lochaline pier.


The fully laden MV Victress heading south down the Sound of Mull.

That was my stint in Lochaline over with, I departed on the 1st or 2nd of May, heading back to Arnish with my caravan then getting ready for two new arrivals.

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Snowy and May seemed delighted with their new surroundings and May took great delight in eating Nigel Farage (if only) Smile


Oh it was so good to be back home for my birthday and an Arnish sunset Smile

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The day after was just as good with two large cruise ships passing my house heralding the start of Portree’s cruising season.

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The 20th May now with Portree Lifeboat Stanley Watson Barker in Loch Arnish and another fiery sky.

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June now and off out in the Searider with my sun for a spot of clam diving.

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More pesky sunsets and diving at the end of June.

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Scallops on the doorstep Smile a fine way to spend a summer evening, he’d just finished a full day’s work at the Isle of Raasay Distillery. Oh the joy of youth and enthusiasm Smile

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July now and The Old Man of Storr at breakfast time.

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The ‘Silly Season’ once more


What can I say, it’s that time of year again Smile Having got sick of towing people out last year I parked a large rock in the way so you could get by with the quad but not a car Smile There’s always one hey Smile

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All our hard work paid off at the slipway, some 22 cubic meters of concrete, 14 of which we mixed with the wee Belle mixer, easy enough now to launch and recover with the dumper at any high tide Smile

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A lovely Reliant Scimitar GTE at ‘the end of the road’ and the complete shed with ALL the plant, quads and Searider in Smile

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MS Columbus cruising by Brother’s Point Skye on the way to Portree and another boodly sunset.

The summer high

Sure it’s been a busy old summer on Raasay with much happening at our very own distillery , more employees taken on, new warehouses built.

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That’s the site being prepared in May, they’re almost finished now but I’ve no pictures Sad smile

There was also the ‘Gin launch’ in July,

Isle of Raasay Gin Launch Party

sadly Ross and I missed it as we were away wreck diving out of Lochaline with Lochaline Boat Charters on MV Brendan.

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Last time I dived down here was 1984 and it was a pure joy to visit some of the fine wrecks in the area, most of which I knew very well from ‘back in the day’. The joy was in sharing it with me boy though, Ross is just a natural diver, calm, relaxed, methodical and very economical with his air. We were sharing MV Brendan with a group from London who obviously took their diving very seriously with two or three times the amount of kit we carried. Consequently they only chartered boats with a diver lift!!!

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Still, they were a good crowd if not a little bemused by our basic dress Smile

The fantastic weekend rummaging around SS Thesis (1889) SS Breda (1940) SS Shuna (1913)  SS Hispania (1954) and MV Tapti (1951) was nicely rounded off by acquiring another vehicle.


Meet the ‘Wife’ YH 52 WFE Smile me new (to me) Disco, had no MOT and an alarm/immobilizer fault (don’t they all) but she’s all sorted now.


  1. Hi Paul

    Great to have you back! I had wondered whether it was the broadband/internet signal that had caused the silence since it was worse than for many years on the island when I was there in June. So sad about Willie Eyre – I’ll always be grateful to him for the house he built so well at Eyre, in which I’ve stayed for many years. So you have a ‘Disco’ in the family –but no Defender yet???



    Comment by Sue — August 23, 2019 @ 7:44 am

  2. Hi Paul, glad to read some of the many things you get up to once again. Some sad news but. The one burning question though is the old girl still not back?

    Comment by Iain — August 23, 2019 @ 7:51 am

  3. It’s great to have you back Paul, sorry to see the sad news about your Best Man Willie, truly an amazing character.

    Comment by Ian — August 23, 2019 @ 7:54 am

  4. Good morning from sunny Norfolk, and welcome back. I must say that I was a little concerned that you had been missing for so long, and began to wonder what the cause of said absence was. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and that dementia reared its ugly head towards the end. At least all of the memories cannot be taken with his passing and I am sure that many of his snippets of wisdom will surface often, not only with yourself but many others who knew him as well. You’ll be spoilt with the Discovery, after the Defender; speaking of which I assume that that vehicle is still hibernating elsewhere? Best wishes and thank you for the update, I just hope that you will be able to continue with the blog in the future.

    Comment by Richard EDMONDSON. — August 23, 2019 @ 7:55 am

  5. Great to have a post from you but very sorry to read of your loss.
    I’ve got a Discovery 2 TD5 a year older than yours – I thought I had an immobiliser problem recently, after much messing it turned out to be the starter solenoid! That’ll teach me not to assume the worst and try a wack with a hammer first.

    Comment by David Brodie — August 23, 2019 @ 7:55 am

    • Aye David, the chap that sold it to me did his best to convince me it just needed a key battery. Luckily I trawled the Internet and managed to convince myself it was the immobiliser ‘remote receiver’ in the roof. The part was only £50 plus £3.50 for a new key repair kit, I was well chuffed cos it’s only done 103K and the body is mint 🙂 Mind you, that didn’t stop me setting the alarm off six times at 7:00am one Sunday morning in LA 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 23, 2019 @ 10:09 am

  6. Good to have you back!


    Comment by Mick Wilcox — August 23, 2019 @ 7:56 am

  7. Good to see you posting again Paul. Sorry to hear about your good friend, you will miss him greatly.

    Comment by Uff — August 23, 2019 @ 8:01 am

  8. Welcome back have missed you a d your wonderful life style

    Comment by Stan — August 23, 2019 @ 8:24 am

    • Welcome back! We have never met but I saw your car once near the slipway on Rassay after a quick pootle over from Skye on the MV Hallaig (don’t think you were on board)! Despite this tenuous connection, your posts have brightened my days for the last few years and they have been sorely missed this summer as my own path has been less than straight. My condolences on your loss. He sounded like a true friend and gentleman. I hope you can find it in yourself to continue posting in the future!!

      Comment by Nosdrahcir — August 23, 2019 @ 9:08 pm

  9. Well that was a suprise in my inbox didn’t expect that. Been following you on FB buts its not the same as the old blog. Great to have you back Paul.

    Comment by Alistair JD Gray — August 23, 2019 @ 8:44 am

    • Thanks for the big welcome peeps, will try and be a little more regular 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 23, 2019 @ 10:03 am

  10. Very pleasant surprise to find you blogging again, but so sorry to hear of your loss. Willie was clearly a great guy.

    Comment by Michael Dunbar — August 23, 2019 @ 12:14 pm

  11. You’re back. Great.

    Comment by Malcolm Wood — August 23, 2019 @ 1:26 pm

  12. Defender?

    Comment by v8mbo — August 23, 2019 @ 7:19 pm

  13. Delighted to see you are back but so sorry for the loss of your friend Willie. Nice to get caught up on your boy Ross. Thank you for writing again.

    Comment by Marjorie — August 23, 2019 @ 10:19 pm

  14. Great to hear from you again

    Comment by Vicki Morton — August 24, 2019 @ 6:42 am

  15. So sorry to hear about Willie but welcome back Paul, you have been missed.

    Comment by Roy Tait — August 24, 2019 @ 7:37 am

  16. Every so nearly sent the search party… luckily for you I went on holiday and lost all phone signal. It was very peaceful…

    Comment by Matt — August 24, 2019 @ 9:50 am

  17. Nice to have you back again. Not being able to follow your daily doings has left a sizeable hole in the summer.

    Comment by Alastair Matheson — August 26, 2019 @ 2:04 pm

    • Good to be back Alastair but not much of the summer left hey 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 27, 2019 @ 9:57 am

  18. So happy to see you are back, Paul! I’m a long time follower (but not a frequent commenter) You have such a gift of storytelling and I love seeing your photos and reading your tales!

    Comment by Vivian — August 27, 2019 @ 4:31 pm

  19. Good to have you back online Paul, always so much of interest in what you write.

    Comment by Angus Bethune — August 28, 2019 @ 5:46 pm

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